Deaf Student Hopes to Lead Others from a Homosexual Life

Article excerpt

A former Gallaudet University student will talk about the high degree of homosexual involvement among deaf people at a conference for former homosexuals this weekend.

Now attending the Evangelism Training Center, a Bible school for deaf students in Oklahoma City, Okla., Matthew Lieberman, 24, will speak about how he left homosexuality at a "Truth That Will Set You Free" conference at the Carnegie Institute. It is sponsored by Parents and Friends Ministries, a group for former homosexuals.

Mr. Lieberman was born deaf, and "the homosexual community is the one that embraced and accepted him," said his mother, Carol Lieberman. "My experience with Matthew has caused me to have a great love toward homosexuals. They are in a bondage they really did not choose to be in."

For years, however, Mr. Lieberman did not see his lifestyle as "bondage." Although he has dealt with homosexual desires since he was 10, it was not until he attended the prep school at Gallaudet University during the 1991-92 school year that he was able to act them out.

"I had a total of four gay roommates," he said in an e-mail interview. "If I wanted to contact homosexual friends, I could. I eventually got involved in a deep relationship with my best friend.

"D.C. has a very open gay community. . . . Gallaudet does not force anyone into the gay life, but they do encourage it. . . ."

After he graduated from Model Secondary School for the Deaf, the prep school, in the spring of 1994 and prepared to enter the university as a freshman, his family got wind of his lifestyle and ordered him to move off campus. His grandmother had seen an interview with former homosexual activist Anthony Falzarano on C-SPAN and suggested that Mr. Lieberman contact him.

Mr. Lieberman was not too keen on the idea. The ex-homosexual therapy meetings he attended in the District were for hearing people only, and he was quickly bored.

Still, "I knew what I was doing was wrong," he said. "I was looking for love in all the wrong places, and I knew I would never be fully happy inside until something changed."

A year later, he finally left Gallaudet, the world's only university for the deaf, which has 2,000 students. Posted about the stately, well-groomed campus at Florida and West Virginia avenues in Northeast are numerous notices of campus events, including some for homosexual student groups and awareness programs.

"We are accepting of everybody," said university spokesman Mike Kaika. "We understand this is not a deaf utopia, but we are trying our best to make everyone aware of others' beliefs and backgrounds in a comfortable setting."

Last Friday, at a campus colloquium featuring D.C. psychotherapist Christopher Vaughan, about 25 people listened to him speak on "Management of Unconscious Conflict in Young Gay Males: I Am What I Am." Mr. Vaughan, who is homosexual, talked about announcing one's same-sex preference.

"The tricky question is whether or not a person has come out to their family," he said. "For some, it is traumatic to look at parents and see yourself in a different way. Others may be completely OK with it."

Also listening to him were four faculty members who stated that they, too, are homosexual. …